Viewpoints: Controlling Costs; Health Law's Guarantee Of Coverage; ACO Liability

The Fiscal Times: How To Control America's Health Care Costs
In the impassioned debates over healthcare, one fact is often lost—Americans pay more but get less for their health care than residents of other high-income countries. I believe we can change that.  We can improve the quality of care and reduce our expenses, saving a trillion dollars or more a year, by making our health care system more efficient (William A. Haseltine, 6/17).

The Washington Post: Diabetes Has Been A Part Of My Daughter's Life For A Quarter-Century
My daughter has been a Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic since she was 10 months old. There were some scary moments when she was very young, and some rough times when she was a teenager. But she's doing quite well now. ... I bring this up now because last month she turned 26, an age that had absolutely no import for my generation but is a significant milestone for young adults today. Under the Affordable Care Act, she was able to remain on my family's health insurance until that age, but now must be taken off (Lenny Bernstein, 6/17). 

The New York Times: Million-Anecdote Baby
A friend of mine has an adult child with cancer, a young man just old enough to be beyond the age of coverage under his parents' health care plan. After nearly killing him, the dreaded Hodgkin's lymphoma is in remission. But he's still a pariah in the eyes of the insurance industry, which means they can deny him a policy that might save his life. Not for long. In six months' time, the heartless practice of refusing to let sick people buy affordable health insurance — private-sector death panels, the most odious kind of American exceptionalism — will be illegal from shore to shore (Timothy Egan, 6/14).

National Review: Obamacare's Not-So-Safe-Harbor Plans
Obamacare was supposed to help out low-income workers. But some struggling hourly employees could soon face even higher health costs than before the law was implemented. These unlucky workers, who will likely be concentrated in the retail and hospitality industries, will have to choose either to enroll in a health plan that strains their finances or to pay a steadily increasing penalty to the federal government (Jillian Kay Melchior, 6/17). 

JAMA: The Looming Threat Of Liability For Accountable Care Organizations And What To Do About It
The promotion of accountable care organizations (ACOs), a new health care delivery and payment model designed to curb rising medical costs while improving quality, is one of the most important elements of the Affordable Care Act. The ACO model is based on shared-risk contracts, in which ACOs agree to share the financial risk of health care overspending with third-party payers. Although they originate in Medicare, these shared-risk arrangements are quickly spreading to the private insurance markets, where they aim to dismantle the volume-driven fee-for-service revenue model. Hundreds of health systems across the country have already adopted the ACO model and in so doing have taken on a new role of cost containment. What may be less clear to them is that they are taking on new liability risks (Dr. H. Benjamin Harvey and I. Glenn Cohen, 6/17). 

MLive: The Long Road To Medicaid Expansion In Michigan
Sometimes the impossible takes longer. The Michigan House gets high marks for finally coming to grips with a decision to fold 320,000 uninsured folks into the federal Medicaid system. It wasn't pretty and it probably could have been done faster, but then speed in the legislative process is sometimes a bad thing (Tim Skubick, 6/18).

Politico: Late-Term Abortions Must End
Life's amazing potential often surprises us and too often we underestimate it. And that sacred connection of witnessing life's potential compels us to stop turning a blind eye to the scourge of late-term abortions in our great country. That's why this week, House Republicans will lead the fight to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, to put reasonable limits on dangerous late-term abortions (Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., 6/18).

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